With its eccentric CEO and innovative tech, it’s no wonder that Tesla is constantly making headlines. One of Tesla’s largest claims to fame is its self-driving and autopilot capabilities, offering owners the chance to reach their destinations in an undeniably futuristic fashion. Although Tesla has taken commendable steps to ensure that its tech is safe, it’s not too hard to find horror stories. Those who have experienced the Tesla Model X’s habit of random acceleration may argue that “self-driving” has gone a bit too far.
The electric Model X was Tesla’s first SUV
2015 saw the public debut of the Model X, Tesla’s attempt at a crossover SUV. After the incredible success of the Roadster and the Model S, the latest offering from the iconic brand was highly anticipated… and it didn’t disappoint. Business Insider gave a run-down of all of its features. With falcon-wing doors and air filters ready to defend against bio-weapons, the vehicle seemed as if it had come straight from a movie set.
Unsurprisingly, the “out-of-this-world” car was out of the budget for many consumers, coming in at $132,000. Still, the Model X has plenty of compelling features that help to justify the price tag, with “an all-electric powertrain, seating for seven, and an extra-large center screen.”
Though Musk touted the car’s high safety ratings at its launch, it wasn’t long before stories of malfunctions began to surface. For example, that “extra-large center screen” prompted a recall of over 100,000 vehicles after malfunctions rendered the backup camera and driver-assist technology useless.
Some vehicles take self-driving to the next level
Although the touchscreen problems were said to increase the risk of crashing, it’s certainly not the worst allegation the brand has faced. In 2020, nearly 1,000 Tesla Model X vehicles were recalled after reports of roofs flying off. This year, owners are alleging an even bigger problem.
Car Complaints has documented the case of one particular driver, who says his Model X accelerated into the side of a restaurant while his foot was over the brake pedal, preparing to stop. He has since filed a lawsuit, which eloquently puts that the car “experienced sudden uncommanded full power acceleration, causing it to surge forward […] and toward the glass windows in front of the Subway restaurants.”
It may seem like a freak incident, but plaintiff Hacene Djemil is far from alone in his gripe. According to the story, the lawsuit is backed by 192 NHTSA complaints that also reference sudden acceleration problems. It also cites “171 crashes and 64 injuries have been reported.”
The Tesla Model X lawsuit has seen little success so far
Despite the prevalence and severity of the problem, the lawsuit has been anything but a speedy success. The NHTSA and federal safety regulators declined to investigate the suit or open a case. They allege that, based on Tesla’s tech, it wouldn’t be possible for the vehicle to randomly accelerate. Their working hypothesis is that drivers likely suffered from “pedal misapplication,” nudging the accelerator as they moved for the brake.
While the drivers continue to defend their claim and fight for justice, the company doesn’t seem to be suffering too much from the allegations. Tesla is no stranger to low reliability ratings and harsh reviews, but they maintain their high rates of customer satisfaction. Much like the vehicle’s malfunctioning acceleration, loyalists’ enthusiasm is showing no signs of slowing down.